In our house we are big fans of Harry Potter, and of course who doesn’t love a ride on a proper steam train?! So when we heard that the Watercress Line was holding a Wizard Event weekend we just had to attend!
Finley had been doing especially well at school in the lead up to this event, and so as a special treat we surprised him with a Harry Potter Costume for him to be able to wear on the day, which he was over the moon about.
The night before, we actually had a big Halloween party at home that went well into the early hours, however we still managed to force ourselves out of bed the next morning in order for us to make the most of our wonderful wizarding family day out, so off we went to blow the Halloween cobwebs away!
Luckily we woke up to a bright crisp day, and the drive to Alresford was just gorgeous, with rolling hills and beautiful countryside all around…just stunning!
Parking at Alresford is super easy, and mega cheap, at only 30p an hour, and £1.50 for over 4 hours, oh and Sundays are free meaning we didn’t have to pay anything at all!
When we arrived we could see a Hogwarts Express style carriage on an unused platform, that was free for us to explore, and what a treat this was. We were greeted by familiar character lookalikes, as well as getting to handle prop replicas along the way, such as the the monster book of monsters and the sorting hat etc…
Finley even enjoyed a photo opportunity with ‘Professor Snape’ as they cast a wizarding spell… “Expelliarmus!”
There was a replica of the famous flying car, and the trolley going into platform 9 3/4, which our little Harry loved posing with.
We collected our tickets from the collection office, and were also given a Mid-Hants Railway Wizard Activity book for Finley to enjoy at his leisure, and then went to wait on the platform for our train to arrive. Alresford station is just lovely, it just feels so quaint and seems to transport you back to a simpler time, with it being set in pre-world war 2 era, with period booking offices included.
When our train arrived, the station was filled with lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from very excited children, and adults alike! The smell of the train steam filled the air, and the ‘Wizard Express’ blew that all familiar choo choo sound as we were finally all aboard, and started our journey chugging away.
This was the perfect opportunity to have a bite to eat from the picnic wed ‘d brought with us, and for Finley to enjoy filling out some of his activity book, which kept him in nicely occupied and meant we could all enjoy the views as we travelled along.We got off at Ropley station, which is a large rural station set in the early British Railways Southern Region era from 1948, and it’s just fabulous, with a gorgeous old fashioned feel, and lots of activities for us to get involved with.
It’s here that you can walk over the original Kings Cross footbridge that was used in the famous Potter films, and watch as the steam trains go underneath the bridge filling the whole platform with thick smoke, that you either have to madly run from to try and avoid, or just wait it out before the smoke subsides! It’s definitely an experience!
On the bridge was also a trolley with a Hedwig prop, that was available for an all important photo op.
There was a very entertaining magic show going on here, as well as the opportunity to hold real life owls. There was also a craft area upstairs in one of the buildings, and broomstick making demonstrations.
We all took a fun ride on the gorgeous miniature railway, and then finished off our time with freshly made cookies and hot chocolate to enjoy on the train ride back to Alresford.
When we arrived back we took an all important final visit to the gift shop, where we also got to meet some creepy crawlies before it was time for us to head home.
This was such a fantastic day out, with lots of activities for us all to enjoy, and with that and and lots of pumpkins dotted about, this made for a perfect Halloween day out!
We certainly recommend you Book Now to avoid disappointment.
“Yer A Wizard, Harry!” ~ Hagrid (Harry Potter!)
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